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Tallinn's Sveta Bar to close doors for good in new year

Sveta Bar.
Sveta Bar. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Popular Tallinn nightlife spot Sveta Bar is set to close its doors for good from January 1. According to co-owner Roman Demtšenko, due to the challenges facing the industry, the closure of other venues in the new year cannot be ruled out.

Sveta began as a vintage shop and bar. Over the years it also developed into one of the most popular clubs and concert venues in Tallinn's Telliskivi district.

"We would like to thank the visitors, staff and everyone who has been involved in one way or another," said Luke Teetsov-Faulkner, one of the bar's founders. "Unfortunately - to be blunt and honest - we cannot continue given today's politico-economic climate and we simply cannot fight any harder. We have always been mission-driven and tried to do a good thing. Supporting local people and the community, being principled, inclusive and honest," said Teetsov-Faulkner.

He added that the bar's closure is ultimately due to a combination of factors. "The Covid-19 crisis, energy and economic crises, restrictions and laws, war, gentrification. Higher prices for absolutely everything. Tourism is at its lowest level since 2010," said Teetsov-Faulkner.

According to the bar managers, Sveta's closure is partly a one-off story, but it also speaks to the overall trend and current situation faced by many entertainment organizers and nightlife establishments. They add, that while there is a lot of talk about the importance of culture as an economic engine, legislation and tax policies are not in line with that type of thinking, and appear to reflect a systematic neglect of contemporary music and culture by the Estonian state.

Sveta Bar. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Speaking on ETV show "Terevisioon," Roman Demtšenko, a partner in Sveta Bar, said that the venue's closure is a clear example highlighting the current state of affairs in the sector.

"Having interacted with various venues, I can confidently say that Sveta is not the only one in this situation. Maybe there will be more news coming of other clubs having to also close their doors."

In addition to Sveta Bar's closure, Tallinn's  nightlife and cultural scene will also be affected by the redevelopment of the area between the Baltic Station (Balti jaam) and Telliskivi. According to Demtšenko, cultural institutions and organizers are performing a rather thankless task in creating favorable conditions for developers, but are then forced to look for a new location every five years.

Sveta Bar. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

"Nightlife and culture is a potentially important tourist magnet and, along with Tallinn's Old Town, Lahemaa National Park and others, helps shape Estonia's image. An exciting and diverse cultural life is also a prerequisite for the success of other sectors - for example, to recruit the foreign talent we need or to keep bright, local young people in our labor market. Culture has an important impact at the neighborhood, city, county, national and wider regional levels," said Demtšenko.

"It is high time for the state and local governments to create an environment in which culture can make Estonia more exciting, bigger, stronger and more attractive," Demtšenko said, adding that other countries have already found workable and well-documented solutions.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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